It was midnight in Atlanta when Dave Trembley's lit up with a call from Bo Porter in late October 2012.
Trembley and Porter had known each other since 1995 when Trembley was managing a minor-league club in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Porter was a second-year minor leaguer coming from the University of Iowa. And during those 17 years, the two grew close and developed what Trembley considered to be a father-son relationship.
Porter promised Trembley that if he ever made it to the major leagues, they would be going together. Trembley had heard that same promise from other players countless times, but now Porter was giving him a call to fulfill it.
"He said, 'Dave, tomorrow the Astros are gonna name me the manager. We got the job,'" Trembley said on "The Bat Around" with Stan "The Fan" Charles Aug. 17. "I said I was so proud of him and congratulations. He said, 'No, you don't understand. You're coming with me.'"
Trembley and Porter joined the Astros during a massive rebuilding phase for the team. In the two seasons before they arrived, the team had won a combined 111 games. Although Trembley and Porter left the team after the 2014 season, the two helped lay the foundation for the Astros' 2015 season, which included an appearance in the American League Division Series.
Almost five years later, Orioles GM Mike Elias and assistant GM Sig Mejdal, two people Trembley worked closely with in Houston, are undertaking another massive rebuild. Trembley is intimately familiar with how they operate and likes the direction they're taking the team.
"Those guys are very conscientious," Trembley said. "They're very, very calm in their approach. They're very confident in what they're gonna do. I think what they're doing is two things that have been missing a little bit in the Orioles' organization.
"They're really emphasizing the international market ... and secondly, your player development and scouting department has got to produce one or two big leaguers every year to help your major-league team."
Elias and Mejdal have taken a deliberate approach to rebuilding the Orioles. The duo is emphasizing analytics while allowing players to progress in the minor leagues and letting their performance dictate whether they are ready to step into the major leagues.
Trembley saw that same philosophy with the Astros. He said it's all about making sure that when player do make the transition to the major leagues, they're there to stay.
"I could go on and on with some players that we had in big-league camp who we thought could help us at the major-league level," Trembley said of his time in Houston. "But really, what difference are they going to make? They may help you win five more games, three more games, seven more games. But in the long scheme of things, it's probably best that they take their time and get some seasoning in the minor leagues."
One player who got plenty of seasoning in Baltimore's minor-league system was Mike Yastrzemski, who was drafted by the Orioles in the 14th round of the 2013 MLB Draft. He was traded to the San Francisco Giants in March, and he's hit .270/.322/.537 with 17 homers with the Giants this year.
Trembley doesn't feel like the Orioles missed on the 28-year-old, though. He thinks it was a case of the organization having a few players ahead of him in the spring.
"They probably didn't feel like they had an ample opportunity for him to play," Trembley said. "The Orioles organization ... are very well versed in the analytics and the model and projecting players and talents. It's probably a situation where the Orioles felt like they had a couple of guys who were ahead of him and gave those guys an opportunity."
Trembley is confident the Orioles know what they're doing in trying to bring the team back into contention. The organization is littered with people who he's come in contact with throughout his career. He even knows manager Brandon Hyde, and while Elias and Mejdal are handling the front office business, Trembley believes Hyde is the right person to lead the club through the rebuild.
"I think he's got [the players'] attention," Trembley said. "He disciplined. He's fair, but firm and flexible. I think he sees the big picture and he's not gonna change his course of direction based on wins and losses."
Trembley has been through the full-scale rebuild the Orioles are experiencing right now when he was with Houston. He knows there are going to be a lot of highs and lows given the amount of roster turnover. He gave some advice to Hyde when he was announced as the Orioles' manager: be patient.
"I've been where you're gonna go," Trembley said to Hyde. "You have to be patient and understand what the whole process is. You've got a five-year plan there. You're gonna be playing most of the year with redshirt freshmen. You have to keep teaching, you have to keep developing and you have to keep tinkering."
For more from Trembley, listen to the full interview here:
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